I began my placement on a cloudy, rainy day when I walked into the John Street entrance at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (“CBC”). My time at the organization, however, was nothing short of sunny and bright. When I walked in, I looked around and immediately realized that being at an organization like this was something I had envisioned since I began law school two years ago.
During my placement as part of Osgoode’s IP Law and Technology Intensive Program (IP Intensive), I had the opportunity to work with a group of lawyers who practiced in a variety of areas including business, media, and IP. This was extremely beneficial for me as it allowed me to be exposed to different practices and really understand their day-to-day activities. I became familiar with the pace at which they work and the type of issues they have to resolve in order to best serve the CBC. To me, the IP Intensive allowed me much more than IP experience, but it offered me an accurate glimpse at life as an in-house counsel.
I was also given the opportunity to attend weekly meetings during which the Toronto office coordinated with Radio-Canada in Montreal in order to ensure efficiency and avoid a duplication of efforts. These meetings were collaborative in the best way possible because everyone offered to share their resources, assist one another with the issues that they were facing at the time, and encourage the team with positive words accompanied with smiles. This happened at every meeting, which taught me more than just substantive knowledge. It taught me how effective collaborative work was done between 25 people in a large organization.
These inside looks into the organization and the practice of the CBC’s lawyers showed me how in-house counsel must confront more than just legal problems. Indeed, the majority of decisions heavily rely on a business risk assessment, which must, at all times, be considered. I believe realizations like this are the epitome of a placement experience. As law students, it is easy to become extremely entrenched in the theory and almost forget that it is the application of such concepts that matter most in practice. Spending time at the CBC on a daily basis and confronting the issues that their lawyers face allowed me to see this clearly.
Perhaps one of the highlights of my externship experience was my unforgettable day spent in the newsroom. I, along with other non-journalists (including my placement supervisor Dan Ciraco) began the day by sitting in on a meeting about the stories that were going to be aired on The National later that night. When I returned home that evening and watched The National (a nightly routine of mine) I saw the finished product and, in that moment, I realized how difficult the job of the CBC’s journalists must be. The effort that goes into every minute of each show on a daily basis is profound. This, coupled with the true passion and excitement of each of the CBC journalists I met that day, taught me another important lesson: passion drives quality.
It is for all of the above reasons that my experience at the CBC was not just about spending time at a network, but building a network of people, each of whom taught me so much in a short time. The support of the individuals I worked with on a daily basis was unwavering. I not only appreciated getting experience in the practice of law, but being able to do so in a guided way. Each lawyer took the time to offer a background of the issues I was working on and fill in a knowledge gap if one existed. Furthermore, they showed me how my work made a difference, by taking me to the training sessions based on the research I had done, or inviting me to meetings with other members of the organization to further discuss the contracts I had worked on. This experience, along with my summer spent at a large Bay Street firm, allowed me to supplement my theoretical legal knowledge with practical understanding, which is much needed so close to graduation. And I would do it all over again.
Written by Saba Samanian. Saba is an IPilogue Editor and a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School, and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.